Parkinson’s can affect the way you write a sentence. Which telling sign in your handwriting could help identify the brain disorder?
According to Parkinson’s Foundation, one early warning sign of the disease is small handwriting.
Has your handwriting decreased in size? Are the letters more crowded together?
These may be signs of micrographia – it’s a secondary motor symptom experienced by some people with Parkinson’s.
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Motor symptoms in Parkinson’s refer to the effect on the body’s movement.
These are further grouped into primary motor symptoms and secondary motor symptoms.
The primary motor symptoms include resting tremor, slowness of movement (bradykinesia), rigidity and instability.
A tremor consists of a shaking or oscillating movement that occurs when a person’s muscles are at rest.
Tremors can be exacerbated by stress or excitement, and can spread to the other side of the body as the disease progresses.
This slowness of movement reduces the possibility of spontaneous movement, such as quickly turning around.
This can give the appearance of stillness, and may lead to a shuffling walk.
The disease can decrease facial expressiveness too.
Causing discomfort, and sometimes pain, rigidity affects the muscles – making them feel stiff.
Impaired balance may lead to sufferers swaying backwards after rising from a chair, standing or turning.
Secondary motor symptoms include micrographia (small and crowded handwriting), freezing, mask-like expression and unwanted accelerations.
People with Parkinson’s disease may experience the sensation that their feet are glued to the floor.
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This leads to hesitation before stepping forward, with people resuming normal functioning after taking the first step.
Specific situations where freezing is apparent include starting to walk, crossing a doorway, or approaching a chair.
As bradykinesia takes hold, decreased facial movements may present an expressionless face.
These involuntary developments may include excessively fast speech – tachyphemia.
This rapid stammering can make it hard for others to understand what is being said.
There are a whole host of other secondary motor symptoms one may experience with the brain disease.
For instance, painful muscle cramps, stooped posture – tending to lean forward – and difficulty swallowing.
Furthermore, some people may suffer from sexual dysfunction, impaired gross motor coordination and slurred speech.
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